Monster Lists! Best of 2015: Movies

The 2015 movie year gave us some great flicks to enjoy. We saw the Avengers continue the expansion of Marvel’s cinematic universe, Dinosaurs making a big return in Jurassic Park, and, of course, the return of Star Wars. What movies die Yeti, Jenna, and Aaron pick for their Movie of the Year? Read to find out! 

[Could be some minor spoilers ahead. You have been warned!]

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The Martian

Director: Ridley Scott

Writers: Drew Goodard; Andy Weir

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Krisin Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Rated: PG-13

In a year that huge movies came out, one stuck out. One of the few that actual made me want to go watch it in theaters. That movie? The Martian!

Ridley Scott put together an amazing cast for The Martian. Matt Damon played the part of Mark Watney perfectly and even with some stiff competition during award time though, Damon should win a few awards.

The Martian had everything from comedy to drama. The one scene that sticks out to me are them trying to come up with a plan to rescue Mark Watney. Donald Glover plays an astrodynamics expert and his plan is so controversial that NASA calls the meeting Project Elrond. One person asks why Elrond, and  Bean explains it’s the meeting where they decide to destroy the one ring. In my opinion it’s kind of breaking the 4th wall.

The Martian is a great story and I was afraid going in that the story may lag on the big screen, but Ridley did a great job with it. There’s not a moment where you ask, “Is this over yet?” There’s something always going on. If it’s Watney collecting dried crap for manure to plant potatoes or  NASA running around trying to come up with a plan to get him back home. The Martian delivers on all aspects.

If you’ve not seen it, go get it and enjoy the best  movie of the year.


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Star Wars TFA

Director: JJ Abrams

Writers: Lawrence Kasden; JJ Abrams; Micheal Arndt

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Issac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Studio: Disney

Rated: PG-13

2015 can safely be identified as “The Year of the Nerds” as there were many great things that happened for me and my people. There was the continuation of many great comic book shows (Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, iZombie, etc.), the addition of three new titles to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Agent Carter, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man), new Terminator and Jurassic Park movies, and the fact that – after thirty-two years – Star Wars fans worldwide are finally able to find out what happened to Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewie after the conclusion of Return of the Jedi in a new installment to the Star Wars franchise.

It was a hard decision to choose any one particular movie of the year to be my choice for the best. For the longest time, I was ready to write an entry for Ant-Man, which is a clearly unappreciated, unsung hero in the most recent MCU movies, but that was before I went to the theater last week to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Growing up, I liked Star Wars. It wasn’t a favorite, but I didn’t hate it either. However, it wasn’t until just after I graduated from college that I could truly appreciate the beauty of the saga, and I fell in love with the series. (Yes, I’m even including the prequel trilogy though it’s evident it’s second rate when put up against the original three.) To hear that JJ Abrams was given the reigns to continue the epic space saga caused me to shake in both anticipation and fear.

I shouldn’t have feared, though. I was pleasantly surprised about the film, the new characters, and the first movie of a new trilogy that may possibly see the Force defeat the Dark Side once and for all.

The Force Awakens tells the story of four new characters – Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe Dameron – and also boasts the return of fan favorites Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess-General Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker. Together, the characters venture to far off planets in hopes to defeat Kylo Ren and his mysterious benefactor/Sith mentor, Snoke.

Will good triumph evil? Will the Force be destroyed forever? Who are Rey’s parents?

I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find out sometime in Episodes VIII and IX.


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Mockingjay Part 2

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writers: Peter Craig; Danny Strong; Suzanne Collins

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julian Moore

Studio: Lionsgate

Rating: PG-13

2015 brought us the return of capes and light sabers with all the enjoyments we expect from them. Both Age of Ultron and The Force Awakens gave the movie going public a fun time at the picture show. I exited both movies with a grin on my face and wondered what the next installment of each franchise would bring us next.

My Best Movie of 2015 did not put a smile on my face. In fact, it made the aforementioned picture show a dreary and solemn place from the time I sat down in my seat to when I got up to leave. It resonated with me the most throughout the year mostly due to how it took on war, propaganda, and the effects both have on the innocent.

In short, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was a film that stuck with me long after I left the theater. And, unlike Age of Ultron and Force Awakens, I didn’t want anymore movies dealing with the heaviness of the Hunger Games universe. The ending to the series was brutally beautiful in every way.

I already gave my full review of the movie here, so I won’t go into full on Ebert mode. Just know that HG:MJ2 at it’s core is a war movie. Plain and simple. It’s a movie about what terrible actions powerful people are willing to do for power, whether it’s to keep it or to take it. I said in the review that it’s a “blockbuster that forgot it’s a blockbuster” as the content doesn’t scream mindless action movie with no view of an actual soul in site. And don’t get me wrong, MJP2 meets all the standards to be a good action movie, it just makes sure that the explosions and gunfire mean something by painting war as the dirty, grimy, and dreary portrait that results in death and chaos. It’s heavy like a sock full of anvils, and director Francis Lawrence doesn’t hesitate to hit you square in the face with it. And believe me, it hurts.

What makes MJP2 such a fantastic film is the pure emotional strain a violent and heartbreaking journey does to those that are involved. The story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is fascinating to watch from when the film series began to the ending chapter. To see a girl that was just protecting her sister turn into a reluctant symbol of a rebellion and, finally, into a hardened soldier that just wants to escape a war between two power hungry dictators is an incredible odyssey to watch. She isn’t a hero that flies into the sunset, but instead a human that has her view of the world shattered completely. And Lawrence portrays the pain, anger, and brokenness that has overtaken Katniss with a performance that is nothing short of amazing.

My Movie of the Year may not put a smile on your face, but it makes you think about the world around you. And that is more than worth the price of admission to the picture show.

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